Circuit of the Americas officials hope to protect Formula One fans from some of the rain woes that plagued the track in 2015.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC
CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS PROMISES TO REFUND TICKET MONEY IF IT RAINS MORE THAN 2 INCHES
After months of speculation as to whether the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, would even happen in 2016, ticket sales for the general public will begin at 11 a.m. ET April 6 for the Oct. 21-23 race weekend.
Prices have been reduced, and tickets come with a no-flood guarantee.
Three-day general admission ticket prices are $150 — a $19 discount over last year’s $169 price. And In an attempt to attract more fans this year, COTA will also cut food and beverage prices and reduce parking fees.
This year, COTA also promises to refund 105 percent of any three-day reserved ticket price or the price paid for a reserved-seat ticket for Sunday if it rains more than 2 inches in the 24 hours preceding the F1 race on Sunday. Only tickets purchased by July 5 will come with the no-heavy-rain guarantee.
COTA officials say that concession stands, restrooms and bus loading zones will all be located on solid ground this year, so that if it does rain, fans won’t be standing in mud at those locations. Plus, if fans have to wait more than 55 minutes for a shuttle when leaving the track, their ticket prices will be refunded.
The weather in 2015 played havoc with F1 practice, traffic, parking, concessions and infrastructure at COTA when heavy rain and violent winds inundated the track and surrounding areas. Fans were often advised to take shelter at the track, but there was little or no shelter to take. The metal grandstands were not considered safe shelter because of the frequent lightning strikes in the area. The largely open areas surrounding the metal grandstands were similarly problematic.
Fans were advised to seek shelter in their own vehicles. But that only worked if they had driven a vehicle to the track, which many fans had not. Attendees without a vehicle were seen hiding under any cover they could find. Fans and employees could be seen popping their heads out of the portable outhouses positioned around the track — a refuge of last resort.
Much to their credit, concession operators shared what little shelter they had with fans, and there was definitely a feeling of “we’re all in this together” among the drenched attendees.
COTA is trying to attract a younger audience to the track by having Taylor Swift perform her concert on Saturday night. Fans holding three-day passes and Saturday single-day passes will be the only ones admitted to the Swift concert.
For more information and to purchase tickets to the 2016 Formula One USGP at the Circuit of the Americas, go to circuitoftheamericas.com.